The Energetic Mpumalanga Winter

The Energetic Mpumalanga Winter

As winter approaches and the days become slightly cooler, athletes and extreme sportsmen and women come out in their droves to compete in the many sporting events that the Mpumalanga’s Kruger Lowveld region has to offer.

For mountain bikers, the peaks and forests of Sabie will be the venue for several events including the inaugural exclusive Change a Life Merchant’s MTB Tour from 30 May to 4 June and the York Enduro from 1 to 4 August.

Mankele Mountain Bike Park outside Nelspruit / Mbombela hosts numerous competitions annually, the next major event being the Mankele Avalanche on 1 and 2 June where competitors have their courage tested ny many hairy downhills.

Hazyview offers mountain bikers of all skills the opportunity to explore the beautiful Sabie River Valley on 1 June in the Vodacom Hippo Hollow MTB Race.

For those riders more interested in a gentle chug though Big 5 country whilst raising funds for conservation, there is the K2C Cycle Tour from the Timbavati Game Reserve to the Blyde River Canyon on 20 July.

For road cyclists, the Panorama Cycle Tour takes place from 15 to 18 June, starting daily at Casterbridge Centre in White River.  Branded as the ‘toughest race on tar’, competitors are taken on some scenic but strenuous routes to Sabie and down the spectacular Crocodile River Valley.

The Jock Classic Cycle Race, to be held on 13 July, is a 150km one-day race taking competitors on a round trip from Mbombela, through White River and Sabie and back via a section of the strenuous Long Tom Pass.

For eager runners, looking among other events, for a tough 100-miler through the valleys and over the mountains of the Mpumalanga escarpment, why not consider the Mac Mac Ultra from 24 to 26 May?

The Skukuza Half Marathon offers an exclusive group of runners an opportunity to run inside the Kruger National Park. in and around Skukuza.  This year, the 18th edition of this popular race will be held on 3 August.

The popular Warrior Series comes to Mbombela Stadium on 24 August, where wannabe Navy Seals will test their strength and endurance over and through a series of obstacles and muddy pools.

It’s not all about testing your body to the extreme in Mpumalanga in winter though. For those more interested in being spectators, enjoying music and eating and drinking, there are plenty of options.

The Lowveld Airshow will be back at the Nelspruit Airfield on 11 May, with aerobatic displays by several of South Africa’s top precision teams and pilots, as well as by the South African Air Force.

Barberton will again be hosting the National Paragliding Championships from 15 to 22 June at Lone Tree Hill.  The town is renowned for its excellent paragliding conditions in winter.

But without doubt, Mpumalanga’s largest annual event is Innibos in Nelspruit, to be held from 26 to 30 June this year.  This music and cultural event attracts over 100 000 people over the period. Book early!